Sorry for the gap. I wrote a long, heartfelt blog entry in late October…all about our progress on the dairy and our progress in breeding and I managed to lose the file before I emailed it to my brother, our webmaster. :(
To recap that one, in short: Breeding season has come and gone, we hope. Our young buck, Bishop Don Magic Juan, seems to have successfully bred all 16 of our does. Hurrah! Our first kids will come in mid-February and then we will have several arrive during the second week of March. We’re expecting a few more at the beginning of April and then a whole PARADE of kids around the second week of April. One doe always has to be last, and our breeding straggler will kid in May. We can hardly wait.
Next year we hope to sell the majority of our kids, as we will need the time (and milk) for the business. We plan to be fully in milk by week 3 of March and our Farmer’s Market days should also start around then. We will also try to get a small storefront up out here at Blue Heron Farm, for those who would like to come get their cheese at its source.
The dairy is really coming along. The building is up and Christian is working incredibly hard at getting the interior finished out. He is in there putting up wall studs as I type this. In the second week of January, our pasteurizer will arrive. We will have officials from the Health Department’s milk group onsite that day to review and approve the pasteurizer and get us on our way to certification. We should be fully legal and operational by the end of January. With no milk to process. :(
That’s right – as of this week, all of our does are dry. They are getting the annual period of rest and recovery that mother nature grants them. On average, goats lactate 10 months out of the year and then take two months off. We plan to follow nature as it presents itself on our farm. We will not use hormones to force does into heat out of season, but if they cycle in the summer themselves, we may get the odd goat who will kid in time for winter milk. It will mean that we won’t have much cheese in the winter, but our first obligation is to the health and welfare of our goats. Without them there would be no cheese for 12 months of the year. ;) Next year we will freeze cheese toward season’s end for those who really cannot do without for a month or so, but there will be no “made today” batches in the winter.
Anyway—that’s the short story. I will try to update our dairy progress as things happen. Here are a couple photos of the building as it looks today.
When it’s all done, half will be milking parlor, half will be kitchen. I’ll post photos as the interior walls go up.